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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26-11-2011, 06:37 PM
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Default Advise on a career path in finance/investment

Hi, I graduated 3 years back from a reputable foreign university with above average grade, with a degree in Actuarial Science.

I passed a few actuarial exams and had a short working experience in insurance industry. However, I found that I did not like actuarial work (desk-bound, too technical and a lot to do with weird theory, and have to go through tough actuarial exams)

I did not find my passion there and hence switched to finance line but worked in a back-end, administrative role. I quit after a year after passing CFA and joined FO of a local IB. The environment really sucks and that affected my mental and physical health and I requested for an internal transfer. However, the transfer put me in a back-end role again (Risk Management).

I do not like my role since it's very routine and much of my work is revolving around troubleshooting the stupid system breakdown, and cleaning the mess of others. And also my organization is quite big, i'm structured into a team with very limited jobscope yet my department is having never-ending restructuring.

Personally, i am very interested to work in a role that gives me business/investment exposure (eg advisory, corporate finance, and investment analyst). Been to a few interviews but unsuccessful since I was either tagged as job-hopper or they had concerns on my lack of solid experience.

I have worked in my current company for 1 yr + and I see very limited career progression here. However, I have to stay before getting a good offer (which I don't know when). I am afraid that the longer I stay in this role, the harder I'm going to switch to different line in the future since I'm no more fresh grad

Any experts here can give me some advice? Thanks

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 27-11-2011, 09:21 PM
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You seem to be pretty confused and lost. You were in the FO but found the environment intolerable, went back to middle office (btw risk mgmt is mid not back). Then you said that back office is too boring and mentioned going back to roles like CF which is front office. Corp fin is one of the worse environments IB can offer u. You sound confused. A harsh piece of advice, you sound too idealistic and a pick too picky. Work is work and sometimes you just need to suck it up. You can't have the best of everything. High pay, meaningful work and worklife Bal/low stress. Wake up to harsh reality. Anyways, in such a climate, jobs are being lost so it is difficult to move. Appreciate your current role

Quote:
Originally Posted by passer-by View Post
Hi, I graduated 3 years back from a reputable foreign university with above average grade, with a degree in Actuarial Science.

I passed a few actuarial exams and had a short working experience in insurance industry. However, I found that I did not like actuarial work (desk-bound, too technical and a lot to do with weird theory, and have to go through tough actuarial exams)

I did not find my passion there and hence switched to finance line but worked in a back-end, administrative role. I quit after a year after passing CFA and joined FO of a local IB. The environment really sucks and that affected my mental and physical health and I requested for an internal transfer. However, the transfer put me in a back-end role again (Risk Management).

I do not like my role since it's very routine and much of my work is revolving around troubleshooting the stupid system breakdown, and cleaning the mess of others. And also my organization is quite big, i'm structured into a team with very limited jobscope yet my department is having never-ending restructuring.

Personally, i am very interested to work in a role that gives me business/investment exposure (eg advisory, corporate finance, and investment analyst). Been to a few interviews but unsuccessful since I was either tagged as job-hopper or they had concerns on my lack of solid experience.

I have worked in my current company for 1 yr + and I see very limited career progression here. However, I have to stay before getting a good offer (which I don't know when). I am afraid that the longer I stay in this role, the harder I'm going to switch to different line in the future since I'm no more fresh grad

Any experts here can give me some advice? Thanks


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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 27-11-2011, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
You seem to be pretty confused and lost. You were in the FO but found the environment intolerable, went back to middle office (btw risk mgmt is mid not back). Then you said that back office is too boring and mentioned going back to roles like CF which is front office. Corp fin is one of the worse environments IB can offer u. You sound confused. A harsh piece of advice, you sound too idealistic and a pick too picky. Work is work and sometimes you just need to suck it up. You can't have the best of everything. High pay, meaningful work and worklife Bal/low stress. Wake up to harsh reality. Anyways, in such a climate, jobs are being lost so it is difficult to move. Appreciate your current role

Appreciate your advice. Anyway, RM is back office in my place since i am placed in a reporting role, ie not much chance to see what the FO is really doing.

Say if I stick with RM line for 2 to 3 years, wouldn't it be really difficult for me to move into investment in the future? I am afraid that by that time, I am too old to start all over again with lower pay. And also, my RM role wouldn't give me that much transferable skills.



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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 27-11-2011, 11:05 PM
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When u say the IB environment really sucks, what do u mean? Can elaborate what u dun like?

U said u passed your CFA, meaning u passed all 3 levels? I supposed since u are actuary trained, u should have some financial modelling skills.. plus u are CFA qualified and also good enough to be accepted into IB front office, then i don't see why u are unable to get a research/advisory job. 2 possible reasons - the current job market is tough, so dun be too hard on yourself. Or, it's something to do with your interviewing skills.

If u said the IB environment sucks, then maybe u r not a good fit with corp finance jobs. So why r u still looking for such jobs? Investment research/advisory hours are much better than corp finance..so if u go for these roles, may be more suited for u.

1 more thing. U are right, if u are not doing something u want to stick to in the long term, u better dun wait too long in the current job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by passer-by View Post
Hi, I graduated 3 years back from a reputable foreign university with above average grade, with a degree in Actuarial Science.

I passed a few actuarial exams and had a short working experience in insurance industry. However, I found that I did not like actuarial work (desk-bound, too technical and a lot to do with weird theory, and have to go through tough actuarial exams)

I did not find my passion there and hence switched to finance line but worked in a back-end, administrative role. I quit after a year after passing CFA and joined FO of a local IB. The environment really sucks and that affected my mental and physical health and I requested for an internal transfer. However, the transfer put me in a back-end role again (Risk Management).

I do not like my role since it's very routine and much of my work is revolving around troubleshooting the stupid system breakdown, and cleaning the mess of others. And also my organization is quite big, i'm structured into a team with very limited jobscope yet my department is having never-ending restructuring.

Personally, i am very interested to work in a role that gives me business/investment exposure (eg advisory, corporate finance, and investment analyst). Been to a few interviews but unsuccessful since I was either tagged as job-hopper or they had concerns on my lack of solid experience.

I have worked in my current company for 1 yr + and I see very limited career progression here. However, I have to stay before getting a good offer (which I don't know when). I am afraid that the longer I stay in this role, the harder I'm going to switch to different line in the future since I'm no more fresh grad

Any experts here can give me some advice? Thanks
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2011, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insider View Post
When u say the IB environment really sucks, what do u mean? Can elaborate what u dun like?

U said u passed your CFA, meaning u passed all 3 levels? I supposed since u are actuary trained, u should have some financial modelling skills.. plus u are CFA qualified and also good enough to be accepted into IB front office, then i don't see why u are unable to get a research/advisory job. 2 possible reasons - the current job market is tough, so dun be too hard on yourself. Or, it's something to do with your interviewing skills.

If u said the IB environment sucks, then maybe u r not a good fit with corp finance jobs. So why r u still looking for such jobs? Investment research/advisory hours are much better than corp finance..so if u go for these roles, may be more suited for u.

1 more thing. U are right, if u are not doing something u want to stick to in the long term, u better dun wait too long in the current job.

I had too ambitious management coupled with incompetent supervisor who can't take pressure from top, hence dumped emotional stress on analysts every single day and made the environment toxic.

I have 1 more level to go in CFA. Comparing to CF, I prefer investment research or fund manager route better. Advisory is what I am thinking of too. However, vacancies are not that many if compared to CF. To me, those are from the same group in term of career path a (ie they are part of FO and give business exposure) whereas RM/operations/actuarial are from different groups.

A lot of interviewers I have met questioned my job history. I feel it's hard to convince them that I really know what I want to do and I'll be committed in my next job.

Last edited by passer-by; 28-11-2011 at 12:18 AM.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2011, 09:44 AM
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I agree with above poster, your past few post sounds like you are trying to look for some ideal job, doesn’t work this way in the real world. You seem to be yearning for some abstract notion of “action” in your job and feel that desk bound jobs are not for you. The natural “action” job is of course sales oriented ones, but then you seem to express no interest at all.

Your stints at back and mid end desk bound you don’t like, but suddenly say you are interested in investment research. Excuse me, junior investment researcher is about as desk bound as one can get. It is basically the sai gang guy that goes around Bloomberg / Reuters terminal to extract information and compile them for your senior, sometimes they also help in running some analytics on certain funds, but otherwise you won’t be out of your desk in at least the first 3 years.

Nobody’s gona put an inexperienced freshie like you in charge of some fund, interact with corporate senior managers, solicit funds from institutions or participate in industry seminars etc. First few years is confirm get **** no matter where you go, you need to wake up your idea.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2011, 10:07 AM
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agree with the above poster.

From what i've read, you're obviously a very bright person and very qualified. however, employers will not want to hire someone who is volatile when it comes to job stability no matter how qualified you are.

Try and stay for at least a year before you look at your options again..

Anyway TS, Risk Management is a very respected role in Financial Institutions. If you stay there, you'll be very valued. income wise is also one of the highest paying areas to work in the Bank apart from the sales side.
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Old 28-11-2011, 10:49 AM
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If you spend sometime to consider the perspective from an employer point of view:

1. There are a ton of academic high-flyers. Many from the Ivy league grad and post grad schools are seeking for the same kind of jobs you seek. In such a climate, it is definitely job seekers > jobs (you have to first realise that you are not special, there are tons of qualified people out there looking for the same jobs that you seek)

2. In the recruiter's mind, there is the burning question yet unanswered: "why should we hire you?". You are an actuarial graduate, academically it suggests that you are inclined towards more quantitative roles. You should play according to your strenghts. Market Risk Mgmt makes sense for your background. In such a role, you seem to have an advantage. If you feel that you are more inclines towards investment management roles, you have to work hard to build up your competitive advantages in that area. Such jobs favor candidates with accountancy and finance backgrounds. If you want FO, perhaps a trader / structurer role may play out for you, but again you have already pointed out you hated the FO environment. (you have to realise that the world doesn't owe you a living, why should they hire you in those roles?)

3. Your job history does indeed suggest someone who is unclear of what he/she wants. Someone that lacks determination/perserverance. These are traits that are commonly frowned upon. I worry for you. I worry that you end up landing another role which you don't like and "realise" that you are better suited for something else. Imagine what it will do to your already "haphazard" type of resume history?

You made a decision that ended with you in Risk Mgmt. We make many decisions in our lives, some big some small. Each of these decisions, right or wrong, have led us to our current situation in life. We don't make the right decisions all the time. You seem to be making decisions too hastily.

You made a decision that the environment in FO is not right for you. I tell you now that in the highly stressed world of IB, the environment that you had experienced is more the norm rather than the exception. Ever thought that perhaps the problem lies within yourself? Perhaps your expectations of the job is not realistic/ too idealistic?

My advice: Spend sometime to sort yourself out internally first. First few years out of school, most of us don't know what we want (in our career). Most of us probably will never know. Often, it is about making a choice/decision and sticking with it. Forget the fairytales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by poorman View Post
agree with the above poster.

From what i've read, you're obviously a very bright person and very qualified. however, employers will not want to hire someone who is volatile when it comes to job stability no matter how qualified you are.

Try and stay for at least a year before you look at your options again..

Anyway TS, Risk Management is a very respected role in Financial Institutions. If you stay there, you'll be very valued. income wise is also one of the highest paying areas to work in the Bank apart from the sales side.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2011, 11:25 AM
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End of the day nobody can advise passer-by’s problem, just take a look at the kind of job he wants to do:

1) Highly paid - seeing he went to insurance, IB, now want to go investment, fund manager etc., he won’t accept normal fresh grad pay in other functions in normal / smaller companies

2) Cannot be desk bound – Must got opportunity to go out meet big shots, get business exposure, don’t want to face PC whole day

3) Not technical / No Exam – Don’t want technical job, don’t want to go for additional exam.

4) No administration – Too boring for his action figure self

5) Not stressful frontline – Must have excitement, but cannot be too stressful and affect his mental & physical health, must come with work life balance.

6) Good boss – Management cannot be too ambitious, supervisor cannot be emo and pass the stress to him and environment must be “non-toxic” whatever that means

7) Cannot be routine – Because he super big shot, so routine job troubleshooting for others and helping to solve problems for others is beneath his stature

8) Cannot be always restructuring – Complain organization too big his team job scope too limited, then complain why his department keep changing due to restructuring

9) Must have business and investment exposure – Whatever that means… As if any company going to hire a freshie job hopper to make their investment decisions. LOL

10) Must have transferrable skills – Because he still want to move back to FO in some unspecified time in the future

11) Wants to be fund manager – Yep, but I suppose this fund manager job must meet all 10 conditions above also

So what does he have to offer from his side?

1) Normal uni degree

2) CFA not complete yet

3) A hooch pooch of jobs in which he stayed for a year or less in each place

And this guy wonders why nobody is hiring him?


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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2011, 02:52 PM
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Last time my director use to describe this kind of people as the ‘marker board’ guy and will straight away write off when he see one during interview.

This kind only want to dazzle in front of high powered clients, draw on white boards or PowerPoint about concepts, principles, strategies etc. Ask them to do the grunt work like gathering data, crunching numbers, chase people for work, basic admin they complain everyday about how underutilized their talents are.

All hot air and fantasy about being strategic, but neither know nor care about the nuts and bolts of the business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flatstopix View Post
End of the day nobody can advise passer-by’s problem, just take a look at the kind of job he wants to do:

1) Highly paid - seeing he went to insurance, IB, now want to go investment, fund manager etc., he won’t accept normal fresh grad pay in other functions in normal / smaller companies

2) Cannot be desk bound – Must got opportunity to go out meet big shots, get business exposure, don’t want to face PC whole day

3) Not technical / No Exam – Don’t want technical job, don’t want to go for additional exam.

4) No administration – Too boring for his action figure self

5) Not stressful frontline – Must have excitement, but cannot be too stressful and affect his mental & physical health, must come with work life balance.

6) Good boss – Management cannot be too ambitious, supervisor cannot be emo and pass the stress to him and environment must be “non-toxic” whatever that means

7) Cannot be routine – Because he super big shot, so routine job troubleshooting for others and helping to solve problems for others is beneath his stature

8) Cannot be always restructuring – Complain organization too big his team job scope too limited, then complain why his department keep changing due to restructuring

9) Must have business and investment exposure – Whatever that means… As if any company going to hire a freshie job hopper to make their investment decisions. LOL

10) Must have transferrable skills – Because he still want to move back to FO in some unspecified time in the future

11) Wants to be fund manager – Yep, but I suppose this fund manager job must meet all 10 conditions above also

So what does he have to offer from his side?

1) Normal uni degree

2) CFA not complete yet

3) A hooch pooch of jobs in which he stayed for a year or less in each place

And this guy wonders why nobody is hiring him?
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